Does The Fire Of Teenage Love Die With Maturity?

African American teenage couple hugging in school hallway

Nothing beats the thrill of being 13 and having a crush that likes you. There you are, on the brink of puberty, experiencing the first of firsts. The act of crushing alone is enough for you. Is it the hearts and swirls you adorn around your beloved’s name or the hours of sharing the details of your profound love to your BFFs? Yours is a love unfettered by time constraints or moral compatibility.

Fast forward to 17 years later and although the thrill remains, it brings with it a spell of questions, anxieties and soul searching. What was once a seemingly easy thing to do is now laced with the wisdom of words such as “He’s not that into you” “Guard your heart” “Don’t cast your pearls before swine” and countless Google searches of whether his behavior is acceptable. After all, you no longer draw hearts and swirls…you sign checks and pay bills.

Here you are on the verge of adulthood with your life in your hands. That the genetic outcome of your children is halfway dependent on your choice of partner is a sobering thought on its own. Past all that lovey dovey “it’s about the way he makes me feel” rhetoric, do you ever think how this decision will affect your future generation, your future family dynamics, your values and ideals?

Because I do.

This here is my question; does love become a practical thing as we approach 30? Or are we allowed to become 13 again, embracing the thrill of infatuation and a free-spirited approach to love. Are we obliged to think about genotypes and bank accounts in lieu of physical attraction and playfulness?

I wonder sometimes how dull it would’ve been if we did that as 13 year-olds. Eying the boy across the hall because he was the logical choice and not because we were thrilled about the uncertainty that lay ahead. Do these requirements we create as adults make things duller now? Are childhood sweethearts in a better position than us single 30-year-olds? Never having to worry about the aforementioned as they slip into a synchronized adult version of themselves?

While I have these questions, I also have some musings. Maybe it’s okay that we can be practical, that we can evaluate the trail of relationships in the past (or lack thereof) and decide on what we want. Some people call it courtship; the act of going into a relationship with the intent of long-term commitment. In this case the two parties discover from the get go that they are compatible enough to consider marriage and work together to make it work — practical love, so to speak. So even though the 13 year old thrill seeker in me would like to just go with the flow, a part of me is curious about the wiser option.

I’d like to know your thoughts. Do you believe in “practical love” or is it just a euphemism for settling for the closest catch? Are you open to the uncertain possibilities around you? This goes out to married folks as well, what words of wisdom can you impart on us singles?



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